let's just stop and see what happens

This post comes with a TMI warning - also triggers for suicidal thoughts. 
Until this week, when I started to feel much, much better, every couple of days I have looked through this blog of mine for clues. Because I've always written about my mental health issues one way or another and it serves a a useful personal history for me in this way. I've been asking myself, have I ever felt this bad before? Has this year really been this shite? Why now? What am I doing so wrong? And at a certain point last week I would have said, Janet you are doing everything so very wrong, nothing you can do will ever be right, and so on. Thoughts of ending it all came tumbling through my mind, often at breakneck speed. At first I could recognise these thoughts for the utter evil they were and remind myself of the great loves in my life and my responsibilities but as the week progressed, there were these other thoughts that it would be like sinking into a big soft bed with clean sheets followed by the most blissful nothing ever. Luckily on the worst day, G was around and I asked him not to leave me alone and he didn't. That made me feel a little better but it was still pretty horrible and although things have been a bit tenuous, what with work, school politics, winter and various life decisions not moving along as fast as I would like, my mood went from a bit blah into a hideous crazy downwards spiral within a week and a bit. It was so bad that my doctor and psychiatrist spoke about me on the phone to each other and at one point my doctor was asking me whether I felt like I needed to be in hospital. That shocked me. Still, even though it would have been public hospital, the idea had some appeal. I decided that I would be OK at home but it did really shock me that he asked.

A month or so ago, at the direction of my psychiatrist, I stopped taking one of my medications and as it wasn't a big dose, there wasn't much of a plan about it. Let's just stop and see what happens, she said. After a few days I stopped sleeping properly and then the sleep became worse and after a few nights of much missed sleep I started to get that feeling you do after you've been out partying all night and still go to work the next day. Kind of stretched taught, greasy and a bit trippy. I took a day off work and went to see my doctor. He prescribed some valium which seemed to do the trick. The next week at work wasn't great - there was a day when I turned on my computer in the morning and burst into tears - but other than that it was bearable enough.

Over the next weekend though, my mind started to go to total crap. At the follow up appointment with my doctor, the one where I blurted out how bad things really were inside my head, I agreed to go and see my psychiatrist. Luckily I was able to get an appointment a day later. It was a pretty intense discussion and she seemed to think I had been a bit angry about the decision to go off the other medication and to be honest I guess I would rather be fat and getting on with my life than crazy and not, so while I understood the reasons for not taking the zyprexa any more, yes, I was a bit pissed off. That said, I would have been happy to go off it and just be on the lithium but that doesn't seem to do the trick for me at the moment. Anyway she also had the theory that I might be one of those people who are sensitive to valium, that it may have been disinhibiting in some way and that this may have caused the rapid downwards spiral. She prescribed me another anti psychotic - one so old school that I had to go to three chemists before I found someone that stocked it. I didn't want to take the medication because in my mind bipolar is fine and all very well as long as I am controlling my symptoms. However when I have symptoms or things go wrong, it is so unpleasant and demeaning that I have a big issue with the diagnosis itself. It didn't help when the fill in team leader at work suggested that despite having a doctor's certificate that I might feel better if I came in and did some work from the carer's room, because that would make (depressed) me feel better. Urgh. Anyway I have stuck with the new medication, even increasing to the maximum recommended by the psychiatrist and despite feeling a bit in la la land (which could well pass in a week or two), I am feeling much, much  better. No horrible thoughts. I've been able to drive, go to work, laugh a bit and contemplate the future with hope again.


  1. Glad you're feeling somewhat better - hope things continue to look up for you

  2. I've been thinking about you a lot lately - and it seems for good reason. I wish and hope for you all the very best. You're a splendid woman and I hope that even(er) keel of the last few days continues. You totally deserve that.


  3. oh, darling. what a struggle.

    I am so glad you asked G to stay with you.
    I am so sad that you have a sensitivity to this medication that is meant to help. I am so bummed for you that this ride is at a scary place right now.

    I am also very relieved that you have sensible people caring for you, and that they talk to one another. They don't do that for just anyone, you know.

    Most of all it is clear they respect you, and your insight. That is a sign of good things to come. Hold on to that thought until things even out. Lets hear it for oldie but goodie meds! Sounds like you've turned the corner. Phew.

    ((((((hugs)))))) to you.

  4. Janet, I feel so lucky to be able to read your blog. It comes from the heart with such honesty and wisdom, and I learn so much. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and struggles.
    I send you my love and hope for continued recovery - don't let any bastards grind you down!

  5. Janet, I've never been in the places you've been and I ache for you.
    Please keep seeking help and look after yourself. Can't wait to see you at Sewjourn - happy to pick you up if you don't want to drive

  6. Janet, I am always so glad when you talk about this stuff. I don't know how it feels to you to talk about it, and I don't want to make it into something you should do for society or whatever, but I think it's so helpful to have brain things talked about like any other think to struggle with - and mental health meds like any other medical aid.

    I have not had to struggle with getting meds right, but I know so many people who have, and I suspect that there will come a time when I need to deal with that challenge. It seems like a truly unpleasant one. So hard to make good decision in those places, so hard to parse out the external influences from the internal.

    I have, though, been in that horrible downward pull - like a rip tide just constantly tugging at you. Horrible. For me, it's always there, I just know what places to avoid so that the pull is gentler and ignorable or avoidable. Such a bizarrely helpless feeling. I'm glad you had people to back you up, even if not perfectly. I'm glad you are feeling better, and I'm glad you can, and want to, talk about it. (But thanks for the trigger warning!)

  7. Shit. Is there anything i can do while you recover from this latest shittythinks?

  8. Shittythinks. That was a bizarrely appropriate typo.

  9. Hi Janet, I have been checking your blog lately and was feeling concerned that you hadn't written, now I know why. As others have said, we are privileged to be witnesses to your experiences. We learn so much and from your honest accounts, about the mental health system, about the fine line we all tread and about your courage. I believe the connection we feel as you tell your story helps us all to gain compassion and understanding for others - and sometimes for ourselves too. You are an awesome writer and communicator and from what I can see, a kind, creative and strong mother, partner and community member - we need people like you here! I hope things continue to get better for you and that you keep all the resources you need around you as you recover. Best wishes and thankyou for your ongoing commitment to blog xxx Fiona Claire.

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  11. (accidently put comment in twice - explaining deleted comment)

  12. Hi Janet, sorry to read that you've been struggling. I'll be hoping that the new meds settle and you feel a lot better soon. A.

  13. This is eerily similar to what has been happening to me in the past several weeks.
    It's such a nice day outside, so why do I feel so shit?
    Am working on the gratitude angle...